Commentators Nasser Hussain and Sourav Ganguly were left scratching their heads after a strange innings from Mahendra Singh Dhoni where he hardly made an attempt to chase down England's big score after the wicket of Hardik Pandya. At that stage, India needed 71 off 31 balls but MSD seemed to give up and hardly attempted anything out of the ordinary.
Towards the end of the innings, he was just taking singles and looked to be content turning the strike over to an unsettled Kedar Jadhav. As the required run-rate went through the roof, commentators Nasser Hussain and Sourav Ganguly expressed their inability to understand the tactics of MS Dhoni.
Hussain seemed exasperated. "I am completely baffled," the former England captain said and said to his commentary partner: "It's over to you to explain what is happening."
He also reminded everyone of a similar performance from MSD in the bilateral series between these two sides last year in England where, in the second match of the series, Dhoni seemed to give up the chase after the required run-rate became too high and needed a message from the dressing room to attempt big strokes.
Ganguly didn't directly criticise Dhoni but his words seemed directed towards him. "The team has to make a decision whether they are just happy not getting out or are looking to win. The message has to go out that they should keep attempting big shots even if they get out. You can't have a team losing in a chase with 5 wickets in hand," he said.
A little later, when Dhoni casually tapped the ball into the off side for a single, Dada said to his co-commentator: "I have no explanation for this. You asked me to explain what is happening, I can't."
Hussain pointed to the large number of Indian fans and said Dhoni should provide something for them. "There are so many Indian fans here, they are leaving now. Surely Indian fans will want to see Dhoni have a go."
The fans and other experts also seemed perplexed by this strategy and expressed their anguish on Twitter. Here are some of the reactions.
Unbelievable batting by Dhoni.. didnt even try to win it...even Pandiya lost it in the end before he got out...commentators cant beleive it.. fans cant believe it...— Shahzeb Khanzada (@shazbkhanzdaGEO) June 30, 2019
Everyone to Dhoni and Jadhav: #INDvENGpic.twitter.com/uJ8Atuogtd— V (@virajkulhari) June 30, 2019
In the last over Dhoni tried to hit four & Sixes, why not 5 over before? We had 5 wickets in hand,what stopped dhoni & Jhaadav for even trying?Completely surrendered & one of worst lack of Intent every displayed on a cricket field. Dear @imVkohli ball is in ur court now #INDvsENG— Sumit kadel (@SumitkadeI) June 30, 2019
#indiavsEngland— Bharat (@bharatdevre) June 30, 2019
Indian cricket fans waiting for Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav pic.twitter.com/GDaDWYI0Hu
#Dhoni dhoni time to retire. pic.twitter.com/UvDe0OzM4p— Golden fan (@Pnb75174894) June 30, 2019
Pakistan : Why Dhoni is taking singles at this stage ?— Nasir Ahmad (@ClarkMichle) June 30, 2019
Indian Fans : ?
only the single MAJOR helped india to got pakistan out of the world cup #indvseng#Dhonipic.twitter.com/y5LomEohAG— muhazzib_chawlein (@iamchawal) June 30, 2019
So, Lt Col MS Dhoni has done a successful surgical strike against Pakistan.#INDvENG— Manιѕн Kυмar (@iamanish__) June 30, 2019
Dhoni fans right now ? ?#ENGvIND#CWC19 # pic.twitter.com/Ow2ZajnlfD— The Guy || (@Awara_Raaz_) June 30, 2019
Dhoni was not taking chances in the end because he didn’t want to get out and decrease his average #INDvENGpic.twitter.com/VMQ2WHmH7F— sarcastic_ su-myth (@ft_sumyth) June 30, 2019
Dhoni is a real patriot, single handedly ensured that Pakistan is out from the World Cup. ?????— Maithun (The Fauxy) (@Being_Humor) June 30, 2019